Radar detector in your Model S?

Radar detector in your Model S?

Is anyone thinking of using or installing a radar detector in your Model S? I wouldn't call myself a habitually fast driver, but after my test drive, I can see myself getting caught up in the driving experience more than I currently do in my Prius. (Or I may just become a habitually fast driver.) That said, I'd like to know in advance before I drive past a speed trap. Personally, I don't like clutter in my car, and the thought of a wire dangling from the windshield isn't appealing, so I'm considering an installed detector like the Escort Passport 9500ci (

Has anyone talked to a Tesla rep to see if a Tesla service center would do the installation? Because the anatomy of Model S is unlike any other car, I don't know if I would trust another installer to work on my car.

Michael23 | 04. August 2012

I had a valentine 1 before and worked great, but when i got a ticket from a non marked cop pacing me I threw it away, I was way too confident with my v1.

nickjhowe | 04. August 2012

Not a radar detector, but I will be putting a front-facing camera, and possibly rear as well. I have a BlackVue 400 (

I'm trying to decide how best to install it. It would be fantastic if TM could run the power cable in the trim as they are building the car. Wonder if I should ask them? :-)

KeithE | 04. August 2012

I have an older escort 9500 in my Audi s4 and wouldn't go anywhere without it here in nj. It's saved me dozens of times. It would be great if TM could build in the wiring for such a device to avoid aftermarket install. Currently I have the cord running over my dash with the detector mounted on the dash. Doesnt look great but it's not in the way. Will absolutely look install one in my S with the torque this baby!

ckessel | 04. August 2012

$1700 for the escort 9500! Holy smokes! I have a very old Valentine and it's really mostly useless these except for the photo radar vans and even those it seems to pick up late anymore.

I'd love to get a nice detector, but I haven't had a ticket in, uh, not sure, maybe 15 years? | 04. August 2012

Here in Colorado there is a bunch of Lidar speed enforcement (facilitated by the front license plate). Radar detectors just don't work in this scenario. Rather than collecting "performance awards" I found it easier to just mind the speed limit. Most of my enjoyment is getting from zero to speed limit quickly anyways...

DrJ | 04. August 2012

I use a Valentine 1 also. Great, but I don't want that cord going from the only available 12v outlet at the base of the armrests all the way up to the dash. And neither I nor anyone outside of tesla should touch the wiring in that car! Anyone know of a wireless radar detector that is worth owning?

cerjor | 04. August 2012

I've never had a radar detector but use cruise control instead. I just set it a couple mph over the speed limit and don't worry about tickets. Like KJR4235 said getting to speed is the fun.

Manta | 04. August 2012

9 out of 10 times I'll use cruise control, but every once in a while I'll get caught up in the moment and just go. Unfortunately one of those times I got a ticket (my only one--knock on wood) on a very familiar road in a place I'd never seen a speed trap before. I know no detector can prevent all tickets, but it doesn't hurt to have an edge.

I was also wondering if the wiring of a custom installed detector can be placed while the car is being built, but I'm guessing it would impact the production line too much. I'd be happy if they'll do it at a service center.

Timo | 05. August 2012

If you want to break the law, please do it in something else than Model S. Buy a Porsche or Ferrari, you go faster and get yourself or somebody else killed much more efficiently that way.

Mel. | 05. August 2012

Timo, are you serious? Equating driving safely like most of us do and exceeding the speed as breaking the law is well you know.

Timo | 05. August 2012

@Mel, doesn't compute, please rephrase the sentence. (seriously, I didn't understand what you said).

Brian H | 05. August 2012

Let me try, with enhanced punctuation:

Timo, are you serious? Equating driving safely (like most of us do), and exceeding the speed [limit], as 'breaking the law' is ... well, you know --

jerry3 | 05. August 2012

The speed limit is about three things:

1. Sight distances. (Engineering)

2. The lowest common denominator driver. (Well, you know...)

3. Political motivations. (Income).

Even you could develop a new breed of politicians (e.g. not crooks) there is little that can be done about LCD drivers--and the roads are full of them.

BYT | 05. August 2012

I speed, but never where it's unsafe to. I drive 25 MPH in school zones and residential areas and 5 MPH in the supermarket parking lot. But at 2am on one of the open and scenic highways out here and no headlights or taillights in sight?? You bet your sweet tushie that I'm giving my Model S a good pushie! ;)

Mel. | 05. August 2012

Timo, what I was tying to tell you , in my imperfect way, is to get out of the passing lane

Timo | 05. August 2012

@Mel, ah, you are one of those arrogant drivers that don't care about other road users that I see doing unbelievably stupid passing every time I take a bit longer road trip. I'm sure they all think they are driving safely.

Breaking the speed limit is breaking a law. Please do that in something else than Model S.

mrspaghetti | 05. August 2012

Traditional radar detectors are no longer very effective now that laser has become so common.

Check out the Trapster app - it's free and warns you of any speed traps you're approaching if they've been reported by another trapster user. The 21st century equivalent of flashing your headlights :-)

Manta | 06. August 2012

Timo, please don't judge. Nothing good can come of it.

In a 55 mph zone, I'll generally keep my speed between 55-65. I live in the northeast, so even at 65mph, I'm still getting passed quite a bit. That doesn't mean a cop can't pull me over, and that's what I want to avoid. In my opinion, driving 55 mph in 65+ mph traffic is more dangerous than driving 65, but I won't argue that exceeding the speed limit is technically breaking the law.

If I'm in traffic that's going much faster than me, I feel more comfortable speeding up and keeping pace, than being the one everyone is swerving around and risk being hit by someone going 75 mph while texting.

Just my $0.02.

Volker.Berlin | 06. August 2012

[...] there is little that can be done about LCD drivers--and the roads are full of them. (jerry3)

Well... you could install real driving school requirements and serious driving tests. From a German point of view, you practically give away driving licenses for free in the US. It's not all rosy over here, too, but I'm convinced that the German approach to acquiring that "license to kill" does help to some degree.

murraypetera | 06. August 2012

I tend to drive with the traffic regardless of the speed limit since this is the safest speed to travel at. I have Escort in both of our current cars. I consider these like insurance due the fund raising efforts of police departments. Since NJ likes laser I also have a laser scrambler on one car.

I plan on moving the laser scrambler to the Tesla and one of the detectors.

I agree they just hand out driver license out in the US with very little training. Very often on the NJ Garden State Parkway the far right lane of of 3-5 lanes will be the quickest and have the fewest cars in it.

TikiMan | 06. August 2012

I'm with KJR! Where I live, it is WAY too crowded to speed safely. 80% of most cars on the road can go over 100+ MPH no problem. Showing off with excessive high-speed is NOT impressive to anyone! On the hand, handing a 10 MPG muscle-car their ass, as you wisk off the light to the speed limit, is the MOST impressive thing you can do in any vehical PERIOD!

jerry3 | 06. August 2012


Real driving school requirements would require actual political willpower and an increase in fees. The nanny government criteria is that no skill, thought, or acceptance of responsibility should be required.

Peter7 | 06. August 2012


Just to play devils for a second, wouldn't stringent licensing requirements exactly fall into the "nanny government" idea, and just handing out licenses as we do not be?


jerry3 | 06. August 2012


I wouldn't think so. Stringent licensing requirements put the onus on the driver to act properly because they are trained. Nanny systems put the onus on the technology in the vehicle to prevent the driver from doing whatever.

To take a non-car example: Child safety caps on bottles take the place of the parents keeping the medicine in a storage area that children can't get to. The nanny system assumes that parents won't take the precaution of keeping medicine out of children's reach so a technical solution is used.

brianman | 06. August 2012

I find it amusing that the term "LCD drivers" is being used on the Tesla Model S forum and 17 inches is off-topic. ;)

Volker.Berlin | 07. August 2012

Real driving school requirements would require actual political willpower and an increase in fees. (jerry3)

Ooops, you got me there. That's obviously a no-go! ;-)

mikhaila | 02. März 2013

So did anyone get actual information if Tesla service can wire V1? I wire did up myself in BMW 5, it's trivial since there is power under SOS button panel and it's easily accessible. I am not sure if that would be easy in Model S.

And please - I am asking technical question, please don't give lectures how to drive or that if I am going to speed or whatever. I haven't had a ticket in 16 years so spare me please. I consider radar detector as my right to know I am being watched.

nickjhowe | 02. März 2013

I spoke to a Tesla Service tech in Florida who had installed a radar detector for a customer in FL, including wiring it back into the cockpit through the firewall - a non-trivial exercise. Don't know what make/model it was.

GeekEV | 02. März 2013

@nickjhowe - You just made me stop and think. Is there still a firewall when there's no fire (ICE) under the hood? And if so, why? And oes it need a new name now? :-)

nickjhowe | 03. März 2013

@Geek EV - great question, and one that I hadn't considered. Maybe there isn't, but to get from inside the passenger compartment to the Frunk isn't easy by the few accounts I've seen - requiring removing a big portion of the dash. "Rear Frunk Wall"? "Fruncabin wall"? LOL

Mel. | 03. März 2013

Florida service centers have been installing K-40's

christurbeville | 03. März 2013

Anyone stick their V1 on the windshield? I bet the same issue that bothers the tolltags will make the range on a radar detector drop. The K40s and remote Valentine's will be better but more difficult to install.

djp | 03. März 2013

mikhaila- are you related to, or go to school with Nick? | 03. März 2013

@Geek EV
As a long time do-it yourselfer, I added parking assist sensors, which required a display at the rear-view mirror and a wire to the frunk area (and a bunch of other changes/wires). I quickly concluded that going through the firewall is a huge pain. Remove the center-back frunk cover, and take a look. You'll see the front firewall (I think there are two, about 1" apart). This is almost impossible to get to from the top. From the inside, you'd likely need to remove the dash. I must hand it to Tesla, that they've done a great job of making the free space usable area in the frunk.

Anyway, the quick fix for me was running it along the outside. It sounds crazy, but it's barely visible if you look for it when the door is open, and completely hidden otherwise. The parking sensor job is far more complex than running the power line for a radar detector, but the pictures and details should make a radar install a reasonably easy project. The power can go to the same ACC+ point in the fuse box that I used for the parking assist system.

Captain_Zap | 03. März 2013

Valentine One doesn't work in the Tesla. I sure miss using mine.

I do know that Valentine has contacted Tesla regarding this issue. I don't know how things have progressed since the initial contact.

stimeygee | 03. März 2013

Really? Is that because of a coating they put on the windshield? Too bad, I love my Valentine One and would happily install it in this car as well.

PBEndo | 25. März 2013

For anybody planning a windsheild mounted radar detector, I mounted a radar detector and dashcam to the rearview mirror stalk. The radar detection seems fine, though I haven't picked up any LIDAR yet to verify if it makes it through the windsheild (I suspect it doesn't). Incidentally, if you pop off the plastic housing on the mirror stalk there is a wiring harness with switched 12V + (red) and - (black)that I tapped into to avoid having to run the wires down to the fusebox or under the dash. The plastic housing separates into 2 pieces if you pull/pry them apart.
pictures here -

Alexander7B | 25. März 2013

In Austria you can buy a V1 into the bumber with a Laser intercepter, I use this for years in my car/motorcycle and it save a lot of money and my driving license. ;)

I Thing this Must be work in the TM cars too, there is not windshield between

2050project | 30. März 2013

Check out this implementation concealed directly into a specially constructed rear view mirror (see the middle of the article), very impressive:

Or, a concealed radar detector (connected/threaded to nose cone implementation) mounted within console perhaps):

KOL2000 | 30. April 2013

What's the latest verdict on radar detectors and model S?

I have a valentine 1 and in San Diego where they only use Ka band. Has anyone tried it? Can you confirm that it doesn't work?

If not, and you don't want to drop 2 grand on an elaborate wiring job does any wireless radar detector work near the rear view mirror where supposedly reception is better?


nickjhowe | 04. Mai 2013

This has been discussed in various places. All the threads I've seen say the Valentine needs mounting externally to function.

kevonandmarion | 04. Mai 2013

Not sure why you all have problems but my escort passport is mounted on the windshield and I have had no problems detecting radar including laser

sunkat | 04. Mai 2013

Passport 9500ci custom installed with display integrated into rear view mirror

xrayangiodoc | 03. März 2014

Perhaps they were trying to directly access the 12 volt auxiliary battery? I have an Escort 9500xi directly wired into my Lexus LS430 at the base of the inside rear-view mirror. Was hoping to find a similar install would be easy but perhaps not.

zwede | 04. März 2014

I've installed my Belltronics just below the roof above the mirror on the passenger side (the dotted area of the windshield). I pulled power from the mirror base. The detector shuts on and off with the car.

I do get full signal indication when I face a radar gun. Don't know if the signal is attenuated any due to the windshield, but enough makes it through to be useful.

minervo.florida | 04. März 2014

Can you give us some details on the mirror power taps?
Any pics?

BYT | 04. März 2014

I'm happy with my K40 in my Model S, had it in there for over a year and I calculate it has already paid for itself in tickets saved.

Mine was the first one on the site! ;)

james_g_mitchell | 04. März 2014

I have a Valentine One installed using the power setup shown in a video earlier. It is mounted on suction cups just to the left and above the mirror. It has worked flawlessly for signals from the front or the back. I am note sure why others have had problems. This is a new Valentine One. I don't know if that makes a difference versus some of the earlier ones.

zwede | 05. März 2014

@minervo: This thread shows how the mirror cover comes apart:

Once I had the cover off, there's a connector inside for the mirror with a black and red wire. I tapped into those by tinning my new wires and sticking them into the back of the connector. That way there's no permanent modification to the Tesla harness. I zip-tied my wires to the harness to make sure they won't come loose.

minervo.florida | 05. März 2014

Great, thanks.